After being back, MLS went away for... a few hours and then immediately came back again. The last we checked in on the domestic league it was time for the MLSisBACK final and for FC Dallas and Nashville SC to determine once and for all if it should be called Football or Soccer. The games were played back to back in Dallas following each team needing to withdraw from the tournament in Orlando due to a lot of positive COVID tests. In what seemed like a bad omen for things to come, that would really be the only major COVID scare in the opening matches of the post-suspension period. In fact, the teams withdrawing was a sign that the league’s testing protocol worked - at least in a single venue event.
Here’s how things went in the MLSisBACK final and for FCD and Nashville.
He needs a nickname - EboBEASTie? I’ll think on it...
Several Americans had standout performances in the MLSisBACK tournament, but Jeremy Ebobisse is the one who helped his team lift a trophy. The forward scored key goals and chipped in on the game winner for the Portland Timbers in the final. Did he mean to deflect it into the path of Dario Zuparic or was he just trying to keep the ball in play? Whatever the answer the result was a win for Portland.
On the other side, another American who had a good showing in the tournament, Chris Mueller, managed two shots and one key pass in the loss.
A double header of sorts in Dallas
Two teams that had a bit of a rough start to the season played a pair of... rough games to start their 2020 season re-start. Between 180 minutes, Dallas and Nashville combined for one goal, which means we get to talk about defenders. FCD lined up in game one with a three centerback look and Reggie Cannon playing right wingback, they reverted to a four back formation in the second match with the USMNT youngster on the right. Across the two games he managed a tackle, an interception, a clearance, four recoveries, two crosses, and four shots with two on goal.
Meanwhile, going forward, Jesus Ferreira started game one and came on the bench in game two but had little impact. Paxton Pomykal was on the bench for game one coming off for about 30 minutes of work while starting and going just under 60 for match number two. In his appearance off the bench, Pomykal had a key pass and was tidy off the ball while in the second game he managed two key passes while being played as a left attacking midfielder.
For Nashville, the expansion side will be happy to have earned a win and draw in two away matches. Walker Zimmerman started each game going the full 90 and helped keep two clean sheets and only committed one foul across the pair of matches. He also had a teriffic block to keep the lead in the first match.
Since he plays left-back I am also obligated to mention that Daniel Lovitz exists and played 180 minutes in the two games.
MLS WILL BE BACK FOR MORE THIS WEEK, IT’S NOT GOING AWAY, IT’S NEVER GOING AWAY, IT’S ONLY GETTING BIGGER (and better....).